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The Promise

by Howard Gladstone

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Howard Gladstone's 2020 release "The Promise" on Compact Disc.

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Promise via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Deluxe 12" vinyl version of "The Promise." Pressed on 180 gm vinyl for pristine sound. Insert includes full lyrics and other information.

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Promise via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Streaming + Download

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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 6 Howard Gladstone releases available on Bandcamp and save 15%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of The Promise, Hourglass, Roots and Rain, The Breath In The Wind, Candles On The River, and Sunflowers Light The Room. , and , .

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1.
Oh how I liked your smile Everything beautiful lasts a little while You were the angel in the flower dress In the rain and mud, your hair a mess The window was open we could float above High on music in the sea of love How I wished the feeling could stay We’re so many miles and fifty years away We drove all day in fog and rain The rolling hills of New York State Into the garden and entered the dream Barriers were broken, freedom and love the theme Music rose up the hill in harmony and grace A celebration on earth, a special time and place How I wished the magic could stay We’re so many miles and light years away Looking back over the fleeting years The dream has faded and sometimes re-appears We’re water under the bridge, wiser I suppose When despair rises, I still believe in hope Here’s a prism to revisit the past Where is the angel in the flower dress? How I wished the feeling could stay We’re so many miles and so many years away © Howard Gladstone August 17, 2019
2.
Pacific islands sparkling in seas of blue and green The tourists are departed; the sights have all been seen One last glance, the starboard side, tomorrow someplace new Paradise, we’re passing through I am just a painter, Polynesian women and pearls They open like exotic flowers in this still idyllic world I left Paris to find my muse in erotic earthy hues Paradise, I was passing through LA LA LA The islands rose up from the sea, a million years or more Wayfarers rode on wind and waves to settle on the shores Then missionaries, trader ships, so quickly put an end to Paradise, they were passing through LA LA LA You know I really love you, there’s nothing I can say To get my message through the fog, there is no other way Time is passing; the islands are strung like pearls in the blue Paradise, I was passing through Paradise, we’re passing through LA LA LA
3.
4.
Someday 03:58
Someday when the filthy river runs clear And the people will drink their fill -Someday Someday when the clouds of doom will pass And the people won’t live in fear - Someday Someday when the shattered streets breathe life And the people laugh together - Someday Someday when the winding road leads home For every exile, child, and brother - Someday That day – not far away That day – not far away (x2) Someday when the simple truth is known And the people are bathed in light – Someday Someday when every wounded soul Walks in grace and shines like gold - Someday Someday when the hurting world is healed And kindness will be repaid - Someday Someday when the filthy river runs clear And the people will drink their fill - Someday That day – not far away That day – not far away (x2) Someday Someday Someday Someday
5.
The Promise 04:25
Here’s the promise I make to you For each stormy sky there’s one of blue There’s a light keeps shining through That’s the promise I make to you Here’s the promise I make again All your love is not in vain The world will open as each day renews The promise I make to you Let me hold you for a moment Wrap you in this sacred cloak The storm, the storm rages all around May you grow strong and solid as an oak Here’s the promise it’s in this song Each time you sing, I’ll sing along As time goes by, you’ll know what’s true That’s the promise I make to you All the troubles you will know Troubled waters, troubled times The birds, the birds singing in their trees Do you hear the promise in their rhymes? Here’s the promise I make to you For each stormy sky there’s one of blue There’s a light keeps shining through That’s the promise I make to you
6.
Tell Me Now 04:14
May you never need to suffer Though peace is hard to find without some pain When it’s time to go out in the never-ending storm May you find shelter from the rain Mmmm mmm mmm Tell me now – which way you’re going Tell me now – can someone go with you? Tell me now – where the wind is blowing Tell me now – please tell me true You’ll be travelling where your dreams will lead you Your heart and hopes cannot be confined May you find love and a place in the sun Long before we’re running out of time Mmmm mmm mmm Tell me now – which way you’re going Tell me now – can someone go with you? Tell me now – where the wind is blowing Tell me now – please tell me true We all go down that long lonesome valley Through shadows and hear the voices sing Keep love in your heart and there’ll always be a place For a bird with a broken wing Mmmm mmm mmm Tell me now Tell me now Tell me now Tell me now Tell me now
7.
8.
9.
Crossroads 05:01
The world’s on fire, sirens screaming Smoke and fog fill the air Honey bee’s dying, oceans rising The healing shoreline disappears A clock is ticking, bells are tolling Final call is near Engines turning, forests burning It’s very clear Here at the crossroads - extinction or rebirth A spinning dot – our only home this earth We’re one world, one fate Locked in struggle and embrace Who can lead us to a safer place Oh Mother Nature, bruised and battered Driven to your knees In a world of greed, with no mercy We are all refugees Spare the children, in the crosshairs With the vision to see The way out of the poison garden There is no Planet B We’re at the crossroads - extinction or rebirth A spinning dot – our only home this earth We’re one world, one fate Hold the children in embrace Who will lead us to a safer place Who can lead us to a safer place The world's on fire, sirens screaming Some are beginning to hear - Howard Gladstone 2020

about

This resonant collection of songs by Canadian songwriter Howard Gladstone's is his 6th studio album, a set of contemporary yet also highly personal reflections.

Howard’s strong lyrics are matched by his intimate vocal style. An ensemble of skilled jazz, world, folk musicians, and background vocalists, contribute to this fully realized album.

This is an album with a clear narrative arc, beginning at a place of shining memory, hopes and dreams, Woodstock Fifty, but in the end leaves us at a crucial, critical juncture, Crossroads -the climate crisis. The situation is bleak, the challenges are great, but Crossroads ends the album on a note of youthful energy and hope, expressed in a powerful musical coda. There are many interesting stops along the way - Utopian or Dystopian.
Stops include exploring a disappearing paradise in Tahiti (Paradise, Passing Through), examining the fate of exiles (Birds Of Spain), even waltzing while the empire falls (It All Falls Down). To provide necessary balance, the title song, The Promise, lets us know that "for every stormy sky, there's one of blue." Someday hints at, even pledges, a better tomorrow. A cover of "There Is Only Love" by Jon Brooks further tips the pendulum towards hope.

Early reviews:
"This is an album for people who are prepared to take the time to let themselves be absorbed in language conveying messages with artful lyrics and buoyed up by sensitive yet powerful music ..." - Toronto Moon Magazine

"Howard Gladstone‘s voice is needed desperately amid these troubling times. In a world filled with catchy loops and fabricated sounds dominating the record charts – a conscience is required to keep things grounded. The Album ‘The Promise’, Gladstone’s sixth release, does just that. With different sensibilities and poignant lyrics – Gladstone just may be Canada’s most recent version of Bob Dylan." - Rick Keene's Music Scene

Here are Howard's comments on the making of The Promise :

The Making Of “The Promise” – Howard Gladstone

Like countless others, I struggled with how to get through the dark days of the 2020 coronavirus lockdown. In the early days of isolation, I wrote some lines that became the song “Someday” …

“Someday when the clouds of doom will pass, and the people won’t live in fear..
Someday when the hollowed streets breathe life, and the people laugh together
Someday when every battered soul walks in grace, and shines like gold
Someday when the hurting world is healed, and kindness will be repaid
Someday when the filthy river runs clear, and the people will drink their fill…

That day – not far away…. ”

I recorded an acoustic guitar and vocal track of “Someday” in my personal studio (last fully utilized for my album “Roots and Rain”). Working alone in a studio is a solitary experience, yet I found it oddly satisfying that I was able to take more time to refine the song and performance. I had no intention initially of recording an album, but over a period of two months, it happened. These were mostly songs written in the last couple of years, and I now understand, ready to be recorded. There are usually silver linings.

I was able to enlist a cohort of talented, isolated, locked-down musicians, whose livelihood had been cut off by the cruel pandemic. The album was built in layers from the ground up, on the bare bones of the songs. I would send the “base” guitar and vocal track to each musician, with little or no instructions, and would shortly be rewarded with alchemical musical gold.

Kevin Laliberte (guitar), Russ Boswell (standup bass) appear on six songs; Bob Cohen (guitar, electric bass) plays on three songs. Marito Marques added tasteful drums and percussion on several songs. Later, I redid some of the vocals. Laura Fernandez and daughter Julie Gladstone added beautiful, soulful background vocals. Charmain Louis added the gorgeous viola on the album’s one cover song, Jon Brooks “There Is Only Love.” Kevin Laliberte mixed the recording, and Peter J. Moore mastered it. I couldn’t be happier about working with such a talented team. I’m extremely proud of what we jointly accomplished in “The Promise.”

“Woodstock Fifty” was written in August 2019, pretty much on the exact anniversary of that historic cultural landmark, and contemplates lost youth and lost dreams.

“Paradise, Passing Through” was composed in 2018 during a marvelous trip through Polynesia that offered time for reflecting on history (human and natural), art, beauty, inspiration, colonization, religion, commerce, even the transitory nature of our time in the world.

“Birds of Spain” erupted immediately after returning from a 2019 trip to explore history and family roots, and offers an emotional response to exile and oppression. This was the first song that I asked Kevin Laliberte to interpret, and I immediately loved his measured and powerful flamenco guitar performance.

“Someday,” as described earlier, emerged during the early days of the pandemic, with the thought that we can, must and will do better. This was the first song that Bob Cohen played on, and what a revelation!

“The Promise” was written in early 2020 to celebrate the joyous occasion of a new birth, and became the title song and central focus of the album. How will we keep a promise to a new generation, when we as humans are destroying the gifts we are given?

“Tell Me Now” is a bit of a mystery to me; initially I thought it was a song about dying, but now I believe it can just as easily be interpreted as a song about our individual human journey and life story.

“There Is Only Love” by Jon Brooks just felt right to add, so I did. Laura Fernandez provided lovely vocal harmony and backup, here and on several others, reprising her great support in my ongoing monthly gig at the Tranzac.

The final two songs on the album seem to take it in a new direction, but to me they seem a necessary and natural progression, and add coherence and depth.

“It All Falls Down” is a sardonic and off-kilter waltz, describing how we humans have defiled the earth through arrogance and greed. It was also an opportunity to allow Marito Marques to stretch out on drums and percussive effects.

“Crossroads” is both desolate and hopeful, a hybrid protest song. My hope is that “Crossroads” will focus more attention on the climate crisis, and the opportunity it allows for a rebirth, led by a younger generation. My daughter Julie Gladstone adds soulful background vocals, and Russ Boswell provided one final stroke of Arco bass genius in the descending bass line in the instrumental coda that ends the album.

SHORT SONG DESCRIPTIONS

WOODSTOCK 50 Major-key Medium-tempo Folk-rock
Fifty years on, Howard revisits the dreams of the 60's, in a moody song where wisdom tempers nostalgia - or vice versa.

PARADISE, PASSING THROUGH Major/Minor Medium-tempo Waltz
This lush, lilting tune portrays the Polynesian idyll of Gaugin, or someone like him.

BIRDS OF SPAIN Minor-key Slow-tempo Spanish Ballad
Here are Howard's soulful, evocative reflections on exile, accompanied by flamenco guitar, Latin percussion, and Russ Boswell’s majestic bass.

SOMEDAY Major-key Medium-tempo Folk-rock
A vision of the future, hesitant yet hopeful, this bright and fervent song is addressed to all of us.

THE PROMISE Major-key Medium-tempo Pop-rock
The Promise is - just that - a joyous, affirming litany of personal life-lessons, and pledges to a younger generation.

TELL ME NOW Major-key Medium-tempo Folk
This direct, emotional song tells a slightly ambiguous story, with pretty guitars and lovely background vocals.

THERE IS ONLY LOVE Major-key Medium-tempo Folk Waltz
The album's only cover tune, this glorious Jon Brooks composition is profound and uplifting, featuring Howard's heartfelt vocal and a beautiful viola descant.

IT ALL FALLS DOWN Major-key Medium-up Waltz
The Empire is declining and falling, but I hear a waltz – goofy, sardonic and Dystopian.

CROSSROADS Major/Minor Medium-tempo Folk-rock
A moving song of ecological crisis that reminds us that we are all refugees, and that there is no 'Planet B'.

credits

released October 9, 2020

Howard Gladstone – acoustic guitar, vocal
Kevin Laliberte - guitars (1,2,3,5,8,9)
Russ Boswell – upright bass (1,2,3,5,8,9)
Bob Cohen – guitars/electric bass (4,6,7)
Marito Marques – drums/percussion (1,2,3,8,9)
Laura Fernandez – background vocal (1,2,6,7)
Julie Gladstone – background vocals (2,4,9)
Charmain Louis – viola (7)

Produced by Howard Gladstone
Mixed by Kevin Laliberte
Mastered by Peter J. Moore

Songs written by Howard Gladstone
© SOCAN/ Sonic Peach Music Inc
‘There Is Only Love’ by Jon Brooks

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Howard Gladstone Toronto, Ontario

Howard Gladstone, Toronto singer/songwriter, releases “The Promise”, his sixth collection of original songs.
The release comes at a time when the stakes could not be higher for those struggling personally, and for the world at a crossroads.
"If you heard this music in a crowded room, you'd swear it was a lost gem from another time."
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